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Old 09-17-2008, 09:03 PM   #1
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Railing hieght for deck requirements

I am building a deck/ porch and the deck will be about 10' off of the ground. I have plans and permits, but I wanted to be sure of the handrail hieght requirement. Is it 36" or is it 42". I have heard both are the minimum code requirement from two different sources.

Btw, I live in NC


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Old 09-17-2008, 11:06 PM   #2
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You need to determine if the area you live in is enforcing the International Code, or an older model code. The best bet is to call the building department and ask them their requirements.

Per the International Residential Code, horizontal guardrails on decks must be no shorter than 36". They must not allow passage of a 4" sphere either.

On stairs, the grippable handrail must be 34-38" above the connecting plane of the noses of the stairs. Where applicable, guards on stairs must not be lower than 34", the 4" sphere rule applies to the ballusters, and the triangular gap at the ends of the treads under the guards must not allow passage of a 6" sphere.

The 42" guard requirement is from the commercial code, which is the International Building Code. It is applicable to many multi-unit residential structures, homes over three stories, apartments, and commercial buildings. It does not apply to single family residential homes.


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Old 09-19-2008, 08:43 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
On stairs, the grippable handrail must be 34-38" above the connecting plane of the noses of the stairs.
Based on both the '06 and '08 IRC, graspable handrail height requirements are not more than 38" and not less than 30". You're in the right ballpark, though...

ETA: Alright, I may have put my foot in my mouth! Another thread got me to thinking I pulled my info from the wrong source. I was pulling my wording out of the OR RSC which I was told was based on the IRC. My apologies if the measurements were changed for the State based code from the actual IRC wording...


Last edited by BuiltByMAC; 09-20-2008 at 09:14 AM.
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